Should you intervene in public arguments?

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Are you entitled to defend yourself in public? Do you have a right to intervene in arguments between your partner? The answer could depend on the circumstance, says…

Should you intervene in public arguments?


Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Are you entitled to defend yourself in public?

Do you have a right to intervene in arguments between your partner?

The answer could depend on the circumstance, says Ben Watkin, a lawyer at solicitors Irwin Mitchell.

For example, if you feel your partner has lost their temper in a public place, you are likely to have a point, Mr Watkin says.

On the other hand, if you feel your partner is causing you conflict, you may have a right to intervene if you feel it is contributing to the relationship being damaged.

You may also have a right to intervene in a case where you think it is impeding your ability to care for your children, says Harvey Steinberg, a lawyer at Slater and Gordon.

“If the argument is outside your home but your partner is effectively shutting you out, then it may be legitimate for you to intervene and insist on your rights as a parent and spouse,” Mr Steinberg says.

A woman who says her husband is verbally abusive towards her told us she thinks she has a right to intervene if she feels the situation is threatening her safety or relationships.

If you feel your partner is physically intimidating you, you could also have a right to intervene, Mr Watkin says.

Photo: Supplied

Not everyone thinks your right to intervene is relevant.

“In regards to intervening in arguments in public, I would think if your partner has lost their temper physically in public or in a public place, I would not argue that you should intervene in public,” says Facebook manager Lauren Nilsson.

Ms Nilsson says she also doesn’t believe there should be an automatic rule against intervening in an argument in public places, but if she was thinking about defending herself physically – “I would not intervene,” she says.

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